This weekend, I had the opportunity to get in touch with many of my guy friends. Oddly enough, most of my girls live close to me and it’s only on holidays where I get to see my closer male friends who come back into town. Though we keep in-touch over messaging and phone, it still doesn’t replace that face-to-face contact. More to this, is that I wanted to run some things over discreetly with them, such that I also needed to be able to see their facial reactions and gauge changes in body posture and voice intonation. Now suffice to say, it’s not like I’m some psychology expert, but anyone who communicates regularly with people know that being able to see those factors enhances our ability to detect and sense otherwise undetectable things through other forms of communication.
This weekend, having 4 days off (today’s the last day, BOO) – my goal was to collect some ideas from the guy’s about their perceptions of menstruation, or rather, perhaps demystify some of the things guys think or say about menstruation or surrounding topics. Mind you, this isn’t a collection of every “view” of menstruation of all males, but only through contact with a few of my guy friends who “dared” to speak to me about such subjects. To be honest, when I gave them feedback on their statements, it was probably more detail than they were ever hoping for. However, having an opportunity for open dialogue is the start to end the taboo on menstruation, for males and females. If we can’t talk about it, then menstrual negativity is going to perpetuate for years to come. The following is a few of the dialogues I had between my various friends.
“Girls use tampons on their period”
Yes and no. Yes, some girls DO use tampons for their periods. However, ‘tampon’ is not an interchangeable word and only describes one, of the many forms of feminine hygiene products. A tampon is usually a cylindrical piece of cotton or other synthetic materials which is inserted into the vagina to absorb menstrual flow. Other notable menstrual protection include disposable pads, cloth pads, menstrual cups, sea sponges, etc. Furthermore, there ARE also women who enjoy free-bleeding and as long as that works with their lifestyle and is considerate of sanitation to those around them, then that’s great!
“She’s angry, it must be that-time-of-month”
I have to say, that’s a pretty nasty statement to make and if you’ve tried that with a less-than-humoured girl, it might result in some kicks to the nuts. Though there are times that PMS may lead to irritability, anger or emotional state changes in a woman, it does not mean her period is around the corner. I believe in 2 things regarding this. 1) Women should not be able to use their period/PMS as an excuse for inappropriate behaviour, 2) Men should not use periods/PMS as a means of attacking a woman’s behaviour. With that said, there have been many articles written by men that essentially says, “PMS is not a valid excuse” and since that would otherwise ruin my point that it’s not coming from the viewpoint of a woman – you can reference an article written by a lady here concerning the topic: PMS is no excuse for acting like a bitch – we should recognize that hormonal fluctuations during a menstrual cycle may be a factor of sharply changing behaviour, but not allow it to justify disrespect. Hell, even if it really is PMS or menstrual temper I can almost guarantee you’d be better off not to point it out, unless you can do it in fashion without throwing oil in the fire.
“The only time that I like knowing she got her period is when I’m worried she’s pregnant”
Well, the sigh of relief may be for both parties I suppose in this case. Menstruation however, is something to love and appreciate. Though I know some of my girls have waited in angst for their period to arrive when they had some “oopsies” – as guys, we should consider that normal menstrual cycle means our partner’s body is functioning well (most of the time). What’s better than your loved ones being healthy? Also, while periods are known to wreak havoc, there are also women out there who experienced heightened libidos are really want their sex! Which leads me onto the next point…
“I hate when her period comes! Means no sex for a week”
Menstrual sex is a personal choice and between the involved participants. Not all girls reject sex during her period. In fact, there are many couples who enjoy menstrual sex. Menstrual sex can be pretty cool, think of all the free lube! As long as you are practicing safe-sex or your partner is healthy, menstrual sex doesn’t pose any significant risks. For those who may be less adventurous with penetrative sex, oral sex or just some sensual time together can just be as fulfilling. After all, they didn’t make sex toys for no reason 😛
“I’m always afraid she’s hurt”
It took me a while figuring this one out because I thought he was talking about cramps. But it turns out that for us guys, we associate “bleeding” (or blood) with pain or injury. True enough, if any part of my body began to bleed, I’d probably freak out. Menstruation though is a normal biological function, so “bleeding” for women isn’t necessarily a sign of injury or pain. Sexual stimulation in/around her vagina during this time isn’t going to hurt her unless she has other complexities. Even if she’s feeling some pain from cramps, a good ol’ orgasm can actually wisp that away pretty quickly!
“Menstrual blood is dangerous”
Menstrual blood is only as dangerous as normal blood contact would be. An otherwise healthy individual without transmittable diseases would not have any major dangers. However, certainly menstrual flow that is expelled from the body is still considered bio-hazardous and may contain bacteria or other forms of germs, but it probably won’t kill you or anything if you come in regular contact with it. If the blood is dried, that’s even a lesser concern as exposure to open air for a period of time already cause major bacterial forms to die. If you’re in a monogamous and know thoroughly the healthiness of your partner, the likelihood of dying in a fiery car crash is probably much higher than a deadly illness arriving from sexual contact from menstrual flow.
“I love being able to ejaculate in my girlfriend when she’s on her period because it’s safe”
I had to ask him what he meant by “safe” – he meant that he’s safe from getting his girlfriend knocked up. I had to break it to him that while conceiving while menstruating is low, it’s also not impossible as conceiving during menstruation has been known to happen. It is quite possible for sperm to stay alive within an optimal environment within the vagina, meaning that pregnancy can occur just before/after active menstruation. Also bleeding may potentially be mistaken as full out menses which may mean fertilization is still possible. If conceiving a child isn’t in your line of responsibilities at the moment (or never), then practicing safe-sex at ANY time is necessary.
“I don’t get it. How can she lose so much blood regularly without dying?”
With the number of pads and tampons that are used and the way they appear when they’re saturated, it may appear there’s a lot of blood loss. The reality is that the amount of menstrual flow per period is not that great (sans medical conditions). At an “upper estimate” of 9 tbsp of menstrual flow per period, it’s not exactly cause for concern of massive blood loss. According to my very quick research, the body begins to have adverse medical reaction at 15% of total blood loss. Given that the human body contains about 5 litres of blood, 9 tbsp is about 0.133 litres of blood – or about 2.66% per period. What is necessary to note is that during menstruation, “flow” that is lost is not entirely composed of blood alone. Barring any medical conditions, a normal menstrual cycle isn’t going to drain your girlfriend’s blood supply low!
“Does she have to change her tampon every time she pees?”
Nope, not unless she wants to or needs to. The urethra and vagina are two different holes (I’d be impressed if you could get your penis in her urethra) and furthermore, most girls usually will hold/tuck the string while peeing to avoid it getting wet. Others just simply let nature take its course and then using some toilet paper to mop up the tampon string dry in case it gets wet. Some girls just don’t care at all, because that’s what underwear is for anyway! It’s like magic to guys, but just with a bit of a tug, a girl can check whether her tampon needs to be changed. If it comes out easily, then it’s all saturated and needs to be changed. If there is resistance, then the tampon is still usable, with the exception that her: 1) period is over, 2) she wants to change products, or 3) her tampon has been in for/nearing 8 hours.
“She doesn’t talk to me about her period”
Let’s face it, most guys don’t really want to hear about girls periods, so therefore, girls have been programmed not to divulge anything about it. Right from Wikipedia sources, “Studies have shown nearly all girls in the USA believe that girls should not talk about menstruation with boys, and more than one-third of the girls did not believe that it was appropriate to discuss menstruation with their fathers. The basis of many conduct norms and communication about menstruation in western industrial societies is the belief that menstruation should remain hidden.” That’s not to say I’ve never met girls who’ve approached the topic of menstruation with me openly (without knowledge of my interest), but in general, I really have to be the one to broach on the topic and show that I’m “accepting” to converse about it before they come comfortable with speaking about it. Unless the girl is particularly open with her bodily functions or that the relationship has progressed to an intimate level, it’s likely you will have to be proactive and show her that she can speak to you about such ‘private’ matters. It might not even be that she doesn’t want you to know, but that menstruation is generally regarded with shame and is indecent to talk about, particularly with a male. If you two ever plan on moving forward with a successful relationship, talking about menstruation is probably to least of challenges.
“I’m so grossed out by periods”
Everyone is entitled to their own opinions. Honestly, I find semen much more repulsive if anything. The menstrual cycle and the female anatomy is so beautiful. I can only hope to educate you about menstruation to help you change your mind about it, but I’m not going to try to turn a stone into gold.
“Why does she like to ask me to buy her pads/tampons?”
I don’t think most girls “like” asking you to buy it, in fact, most do it only when they really need to, like when they’re clumped over on the couch. Because pads/tampons are very personal choices, most women like to shop for it themselves. However, there are also guys I know who get it as part of their grocery list, but I don’t it’s a really ‘unique’ thing. She has every right to ask you if you guys are involved in a committed relationship and if she has ever bought anything for you in your life, then she can expect you to buy this for her. As long as she equips you with enough information to buy it, it should be fair game. For some women, it can be used as a ‘test’ to see if you’re man enough to do it or they don’t really think anything of it. You’re out getting those apples anyway, why not a box of tampons or a pack of pads?
“It’s amazing, how does she even keep track of how often to change or when it gets full?”
With pads it’s fairly simple, because a visual inspection will allow a girl to know whether her pad is getting full or not. Also, as pads get saturated, the pad will usually become heavier and there may be a damp feeling. With tampons, as I explained above, usually a quick “tug test” will already reveal whether changing is required. For most girls though, it’s just a matter of timed washroom breaks to do a check-up. Some girls may change ahead of time if they’re planning travel which does not give them accessibility to washrooms. I know with most of my girls, they opt to change later when they’re at home as they can get to a washroom any time. However, if they’re heading for a several hour road trip they change before they leave the house or double-up protection. Despite a girl being an expert on her body and diligent on her feminine hygiene needs, leaks may sometimes still happen and that’s ok. It’s like sneezing. Try as you might, but doesn’t stop it from coming out!
“Girls can’t swim on their periods”
Whether the girl ‘can’ swim is subjective on her own skill, not whether she has her period or not. However, if you’re talking about methods to control menstrual flow, they can opt to use internal forms of feminine hygiene, as pads would be out of the question. Feminine products worn within the vagina will offer a chance for the girl to swim while maintaining hygiene for herself and other swimmers. If a girl knows how to swim and doesn’t have debilitating menstrual pains, swimming is great exercise which may help alleviate cramps and maintain a healthy body overall. I do know however, that Traditional Chinese Medicine [TCM] usually frowns upon swimming while menstruating (because the body is considered ‘weak’ during that time).
“Girls get their period every 28 days”
This is something I admit that I was pretty ignorant about until I started learning about menstruation from female experiences and stories. To me, the “books” tell you that menstrual cycles are 28 days in length, however, that is not true for many women as bodies aren’t clockworks. Many of the girls I’ve dated before just happened to have a fairly regular cycle every month, but even tracking with bebe for the past 2 years I’ve known her, I can say for sure almost every month she has a different monthly cycle. While she’s perfectly healthy, it does come down to the fact that women do not always have exact 28-day cycles, but rather, vary between 21-35 days and whether or not a woman falls within a 28-day cycle doesn’t necessarily represent overall health. Because I happened to date girls who fell in the 26-29 day ranges, it was awkward for me to start tracking bebe’s to find that hers was much longer (lucky her, unlucky me… LOL). I know a few of my girls don’t really track at all and tell me they just “feel it” when it’s about to come! That’s really cool 🙂
“The washroom stinks when she’s on her period”
I suppose it’s something you really need to bring up with her. Dried menstrual flow does have an odour but is not easily detectable. I know girls who use “open” trash bins who visibly have wrapped tampons and pads in it and the smell is hardly obvious. Unless the girl has very rancid menstrual flow odour, it should not be very strong and only detectable if you plan on sticking your nose in the trash. What makes menstrual flow smell is actually when it comes in contact with open air and begins to fester bacteria. When the bacteria is trying living/decomposing the menstrual flow and pad, that is what emits the stench, not so much the actual flow itself. Proper sanitary practices should already be sufficient to stem the smell. I’ve been to my girl’s house before who hadn’t emptied the trash for 3 weeks and she had pads piled to the top and still the air was pretty clean. I’d broach lightly on the topic with her since it’s rather insulting to be told her menstrual flow smells, but rather, talk about maintaining welcoming environment for guests who use the bathroom as a softer approach.
It has definitely been a while since I’ve had the time to write this much! Hope this helps shed some light on what your typical (which I’m not) guys think about periods. I’m glad they offered me an opportunity to trade what I know about menstruation for their personal growth and also that I could share it with the world-at-large here. It’ll also help the girls see things through our eyes and that sometimes we just don’t know any better. Furthermore, I grew up in a conservative family meaning menstruation wasn’t talked about much. Lucky for me I didn’t run into a bunch of misinformation communicated to me from my peers, but certainly I can see why it happens when boys aren’t educated properly about menstruation. They begin to pick up things from their friends and see/hear negativity about periods from other sources. Best to teach them at an age-appropriate level so they develop respect for the female anatomy and a beautiful & natural bodily process!
I remember getting these questions regularly when I started my blog, from younger girls who hadn’t started their periods yet and from ones who recently began menstruating. Suffice to say, I’m deeply touched that girls would reach out to me, as a male, to seek such advice. I hope they always get answers from me which are helpful and act as a guide, directing them to good sources of information such as sisters, parents, guardians, relatives or close female friends who can provide more anecdotal guidance than I would be able. I haven’t gotten a question like this for a while in my daily life, because almost all of my god-sis’ or close female friends are already well into becoming experts on their own periods. The “what pad or tampon is right for me?” question probably was last asked by my youngest god-sis about 4 years ago already! The reason why I decided to write about this topic, isn’t necessarily to answer inquiries from females about how to pick their products (as I believe my reviews and highlighted articles have achieved much of that already), but rather, because a male friend of mine has opened up to the idea of wanting to learn. The other day, he approached me, asking about my knowledge on menstruation. While he does not know the extent of my “enjoyment” of menstruation, he came to me because he’s known I’ve been involved in a few serious relationships before and no doubt, has had to deal with period issues at one point or another. So for the guys, this article may be right for you!
So my friend, being the geek he is (like me, heh) – it was very hard for him to wrap his head around how girls pick their feminine hygiene products. To him, how can different products be so unique that it makes you want one over another? He knew that different classes and models of cars offer a variety of features, performance and such, but how can he apply this to pads and tampons – it’s confusing for him! I must’ve spent a good hour just educating him about the basics of periods, why it exists, what the function is, how often it happens, etc. let alone go into details about pads and tampons yet. After he got grounded on what menstruation is all about (and probably puked a bit in his mouth as I noticed changes of expressions whenever I went into details), I began to explain to him the two common types of menstrual protection, pads and tampons. For the sake of not exploding his brain or turning him off the conversation, I started to go over the differences between disposal tampons and pads. Pads were either affixed to a sanitary belt or put onto panties to absorb menstrual flow as it exits the body, versus a tampon which is inserted into the vagina where menstrual flow is absorbed before it exits the body. Pads when filled, are removed from the panties, rolled/folded up and then disposed in the garbage. Tampons are withdrawn from the vagina and then thrown in the garbage or flushed down the toilet. In his words, “I didn’t even know pads existed – I only hear about tampons.” and as you can see, his innocence when it came to the existence of various options and their most basic method of functionality. Unfortunately, these menstrual protection terms are sometimes even used interchangeably.
Then he began to ask me, “How do girls know which pad or tampon is right for her?”
I told him that many girls often are introduced to their first brand and type of pad or tampon by an educator, parent, guardian or sibling. It’s quite common to find in households, that the females within the household share common brands and types of products they use. To be honest, out of my group of girls, I’ve only seen one who has a very different product lines as compared to her sisters and mom. There’s nothing “wrong” with that, however, from my experience, if the mother in a household uses brand X, then the rest of the girls will likely begin and continue to use brand X as well. However, picking a product is all a matter of personal preference and unless you have an over-controlling Asian mother, whether a daughter chooses to use pads, tampons or whatever brand is usually up to them. For some of the more adventurous girls, they may reach out to other types and brands of products through her friends or through her own willingness to experiment with different products. Some girls however, are forced to search for new products if their flow demands that they switch or should they have a particular reaction to the product they’re currently using. I do know a few of my girls suddenly began having allergies to products they’ve been using for years and had to switch products afterward. Allergies may be one or a combination of companies changing the composition of their products or over time, a girl developing sensitivity to one or more of the elements within the product. Just like buying a TV, we often hear from others which one they think is “the best” – then we find out for ourselves whether that’s true or not! Just likes pads and tampons, most people make decisions based on what they hear, see and perceive. It’s almost impossible to learn whether a feminine hygiene option is right until trying it!
Here’s where it gets difficult for him – trying to understand all the different attributes which separate one product from another. So then he asked me, “What is it about those wings I keep on hearing about? If thin pads are so much more comfortable, why do thick pads exists?”
So for a guy who didn’t know the existence of pads and the difference between pads and tampons, I didn’t find it shocking to hear this question. I knew that the concept of “wings” to him would be beyond his grasp, does it help make a girl fly? I explained to him that wings were meant to help keep the pad in place and conform to the shape/movement of the body and panties and that it also acted as a last ditch effort to prevent menstrual flow from leaving the side of the pad. I happened to have a pad with wings in my car, so I opened it up for him to take a look and of course without panties, I couldn’t demonstrate to him the application of wings underneath the crotch area, but I managed with a bit of visual description to give him an idea that wings extend from the side of the pad is is wrapped around the crotch of the underwear, that way, it secures itself against the panties and allow movements and shifting to synchronize with the pad in place.
He was already furrowing his eyebrows at me because who would’ve thought of something like “wings” on a sanitary product? He asked me if there were more “attributes” of a pad or tampon that makes one competitor’s product different from another… I sighed and told him, “yes, lots” and he rolled his eyes at me. Of course having the mindset of a keep, I actually used a very laughable analogy to explain all the attributes of pads to him in relevance to an RPG game. I told him since he’s so familiar with RPG’s, think about that a character is made of many “attributes”, strength, dexterity, intelligence, constitution, willpower, etc. and compare that to a pad with lengths, thickness, absorbency, width, wings, etc. He nodded in agreement with my very geeky analogy.
Length of a pad, what is it for? Well the length of the pad denotes how long the coverage area between your belly button to your lower back. Essentially, longer pads are usually designed for women who have heavier flows and thus, allows the pad to catch flow more easily and to disbursed it over a larger area. Sometimes, longer pads were designed for larger sized women, such as when the Always Maximum Protection pads were marketed, they were labelled for extra heavy flows and for women who were “size 14+”. Shorter pads are usually designed for lighter days and with longer pads designed for overnight use or heavier flows. In Canada, companies usually use “slender, regular, long, overnight, etc.” terminology to denote the length of the pad. In Asia, it’s common to use metric measurement such as “mm” or “cm” to denote the lengths rather than a generalized label of the length.
Width of a pad is similar to length in the sense that it’s a measurement of how much side-to-side coverage there is and is usually dependent on the flow-purpose of the pad. Some brands keep their widths the same and simply make pads longer to make a “regular” into an “overnight” pad. Some brands such as Stayfree (which I’m a big fan of) will make pads designed for heavier and overnight use with a larger width, as menstrual flow will often go to the edges during the night when one is sleeping, rather than day-use where most people are sitting or standing or at least in a position where the flow will drip right into the center of the pad and stay there. Remember that width can sometimes be compensated for in the event of pads with larger wings.
Absorbency usually defines the capacity of menstrual flow that a pad is capable of absorbing and in Canada, the absorbancy falls in-line with the length and under the description of “slender, regular, long, etc.” depending on the manufacturer. Either way, absorbency is not standardized like tampons are for pads. A “regular” absorbency pad by one company may not absorb the same amount as “regular” from another. Absorbency often varies depending on the technology used in the pad, some of which are proprietary. For instance, the big 3 companies in Canada that sells pads, Stayfree, Kotex and Always have various lines of products with different technologies. Stayfree has a new Thermocontrol line, Kotex has the Micromax core in their U by Kotex line, and Always has the Infincel beads in their Infinity line which different from their standard lines. I usually refer to these as the “premium lines” – a description which I adopted from Asia pads and tampons. Even comparing absorbency of a “regular” sized Always pad in their original line versus a “regular” sized Always Infinity pad, the Infinity one will absorb a lot more! Absorbency is very hard to define for pads because there’s just so many other factors involved.
Wings and No Wings, this is always confusing to explain to guys about why any girl would want to use pads without wings. Let’s face it, us guys drive all different types of cars, some people like spoilers and some do not. Likewise, not every girl needs to like wings on their pads, as much as it might sound contrary to not want something that helps. Wings can sometimes cause irritation and let’s not forget that wings aren’t always helpful. For some women, their body is much more attuned to pads with no wings and they feel that their pad already conforms well to their body without the assistance of wings. These are all legitimate personal choices! Furthermore, let’s not forget there’s a cost-savings here because pads with wings will usually either, a) cost more, or b) come fewer in a equivalent sized pack as compared to ones without wings.
Thin or thick? Naturally, one would like to assume that thin pads is always more comfortable and such is not the case. Thick pads sometimes can provide a comfort, like a pillow and also provides a closer body fit. Thick pads usually absorb better than their thin equivalency, however, with better technologies offered, sometimes thin pads can even outperform thick ones. Suffice to say, thick pads still offer a peace-of-mind to some women, therefore, thick pads should not be overlooked at being outdated or “not cool”. Feminine hygiene is a personal choice which is meant to provide both menstrual protection AND a feeling of security as psychological wellness matters too, especially during sensitive period times! Thin pads because of how paper-like they are often make more noise when walking, usually squishing and scratching noises. Thicker pads usually don’t have this problem, but then again, this is on a brand-to-brand basis. Thick pads for some can pose an uncomfortable feeling and usually anti-pad users will say they “feel like diapers” and sure enough, thick pads can get in the way of physical activities because the feeling of the pad is “always there.” Thick pads often will show bulging through tight pants and such, so there is a lack of discreteness if that is important. Thick pads usually are used at home and at night though for that reason when you have your own privacy and where “showing” is less of a concern.
By now, his eyes are already rolled back into his skull because as short as it was for you to read this on my blog, the conversation was a lot longer. I had to then tell him that now we’re done talking about pads, let’s move onto tampons!
Tampons in general have fewer attributes per se than pads.
Absorbency for tampons in Canada and the US have standardized amounts of menstrual flow they are designed to absorb in a single tampon and are as follows:
- Junior absorbency – less than 6 grams (Approximately 5 grams equals one teaspoon.)
- Regular absorbency – 6 to 9 grams
- Super absorbency – 9 to 12 grams
- Super plus absorbency – 12 to 15 grams
- Ultra absorbency – 15 to 18 grams
Of course even between standardized tampon absorption amounts, girls often find their experiences with various brands to be quite different. Because tampons have the potential to cause TSS (Toxic Shock Syndrome), absorbency ratings are regulated to protect users. Using the lowest possible absorbency to meet the needs of one’s menstrual flow is the best option. Absorbency doesn’t necessarily define the length or width of the tampon, but does influence it. On the same note, because tampons are worn internally, designers of tampons must create them in such a shape, size and way where it’s comfortable and is easy to insert/withdraw.
Expansion is something that is not usually talked about, but is something that’s integral to how well the tampon performs when inserted into the vagina. Tampons can expand in various “shapes” when inside the vagina, width-wise, length-wise or into “flower” type shapes, which help conform to the inside of the vagina. Think of a tampon as a plug and you will realize that the way tampons expand impact how well the tampon catches menstrual flow and whether “gaps” between the tampon and vaginal wall will occur, thus allowing flow to leak past the tampon. Expansion however, can equally cause discomfort so that’s why finding a tampon that has an expansion method which matches one’s body and still provides expected protection is integral.
Applicator or non-applicator tampons pose an impact to the environment and sometimes to the sanity of the girl. Girls who live by applicators usually have one of two reasons, 1) they don’t want to have their fingers so close to their bloody vagina or 2) feel it’s easier to insert. Because applicators add an extra piece of the overall size of the tampon, applicator tampons need to be sold in larger boxes/packages (yes, even the compact sized ones) and add additional trash to our landfills. However, some just can’t get over the idea that their fingers would need to become very intimate and close to their vagina and is unsanitary/unhygienic, therefore non-applicator tampons scare them. I have had real-life experiences with inserting both non-applicator and applicator tampons and honestly, I have preference towards non-applicator tampons no problem.
Type of applicator usually falls between 2 materials, cardboard and plastic. Both cause an environmental impact, however, cardboard because it’s usually biodegradable, has less environmental impact. Plastic however is often known to “glide in” much smoother. However, plastic applicator tips are often flanged to allow the tampon to be pushed through and thus, pinching is known to happen. Pinching already sucks when it happens on your hands, let alone when it’s in a sensitive area such as the vagina! Applicators can also sometimes have features and designs on it which assist in insertion, easy-to-hold grip/shape or compact form. The purpose of an applicator is to allow a tampon to be “planted” directly into the vagina. The applicator plunge is pushed, the tampon exits into the vagina and settles in, then the applicator is withdrawn from the body. The result is a string sewn into the center of the tampon which allows for withdrawal and the string stays outside the body. Some women like to tuck the string between the legs, labia or even inside their vagina.
I noticed that after all this information, I think that his mind was already at the tip of exploding. It’s a lot of information for a guy to stomach at one time, especially because he was the mild and shy type and to listen to my repeat of “pad”, “tampon” and “vagina” it made his face flush red. There were times I had to repeat myself so he understood concepts surrounding tampons and how applicators worked and such. I was more than happy to show him as I happened to have bought a box of U by Kotex Click tampons in my trunk. Seeing the visual really helped him grasp the idea of tampons and what the differences are between pads and tampons. One last thing I touched-base on because I knew talking about disposal pads and tampons already gave him the shivers at the thought of menstrual fluid (and that when pads and tampons are soaked up, the flow is actually less than it appears) saturating a pad and tampon. An average menstrual flow isn’t all that bad in terms of actual amount, but when we visually see a soaked pad and tampon, it almost looks like a someone’s arm was cut off by a saw! I skimmed through alternative pad and tampon options such as menstrual cups and cloth pads and by then, I could see the air of discomfort rising in him. With that, I stopped but then there’s still much for ME to learn about reusable products which I want to do before writing more about them.
Recently, I’ve been very fascinated with Lunapads and really want to make a donation AND purchase a set for testing and perhaps for my interested girls or bebe! So there you have it guys, if you ever wonder how much that girls have to think about when choosing a product right for them, you realize why the aisles are so damn big and complex! Hopefully though, you will also realize that it’s not a trivial matter at all and that picking the right product really helps a girl get through her day accident-free and with a peace-of-mind! If you’re not afraid of your own menstrual flow, I’d REALLY recommend you switching to reusable products because they’re great for the environment, economical, healthier for your body and comfortable because they use REAL cotton and not synthesized materials!
So now it sucks that I have to point out this brand in particular, but, it’s right-on-topic with what I want to speak about. Being an avid fan of periods, perhaps I may not be as bothered by the idea of menstrual fluid, the sight, smell or even presence of it – but others may be, whether male or female. I can understand the fear that some girls may be self-conscious about their own smell or might even feel disgusted about their own smell that they would consider using scented products. This doesn’t just have to do with scented tampons or pads, but there is also quite a market out there of women who feel that they need to “feel fresh” by using things like vaginal wipes or sprays. My question is, “is it really necessary?”
Yes, our body does not emanate the most beautiful smells. Even those who use fragrance soaps and perfume – let’s face it, WE do not naturally smell good, we are only masking our own natural body smell. Suffice to say, it doesn’t mean we should discard hygiene and let ourselves smell like crap, but our body, especially our sensitive areas like our pubic region don’t need to smell like flower petals. Furthermore, we all know that these scents are just chemicals, so why on earth would we even consider putting chemicals near our private areas? If you don’t wash your face regularly with acid, then you probably wouldn’t want to stuff a scented tampon in your vagina. Sure, the chemicals in those aren’t as harsh as acid, but the bottom line is… that they’re still chemicals.
For many women who still continue to use conventional feminine hygiene products, disposable pads and tampons – they’re already subjecting themselves to many foreign materials and using scented products is just like adding salt to a wound. I’ve managed to persuade most of my girls who uses scented products to stay away from them or for ones who are self-conscious to only use scented products when they feel that their period smell may be exposed easily. We all like to smell good, I’m not sure how many people on this world enjoy smelling bad if they had a choice, but scented feminine hygiene products aren’t the way to go. Honestly, even a pad or tampon that has been worn to the maximum and leaking, menstrual fluid smell would still be minimal. As a female, ask yourself, how many people would even be close to your vagina? Unless you work in the sex industry or as a stripper, would there be that many people close enough to your vagina where they’d be able to smell you? It’d be perhaps, your partner or at least someone whom you are comfortable enough to be so intimately close to – so is covering up the smell that important?
Let’s consider scented tampons for a moment. A tampon goes inside the vagina and stays there until it’s withdrawn and then thrown away. Please feel free to justify the reasoning of why a scented tampon is necessary because once you pull it out, it goes right into the garbage or down the toilet. Would the smell of menstrual flow for the 2 seconds prior to disposal be so bad where it’d be necessary to have a scented product? Also, I’ve seen my fair share of scented products and really, even the most scented product isn’t enough to completely mask the smell of the menstrual fluid. Don’t believe me? If you have the guts, try it yourself. Scented pads are pretty bad because the pad is already rubbing against your pubic region the whole day and with tampons, it’s sitting inside your body for up to 8 hours a day, times the number of tampons you use per day. We may enjoy the idea of our outer regions smelling good and thus, we use heavily scented soaps or feminine wipes, but why does the inside of the vagina need to smell good? Douching has been a long-standing practice, especially for some cultures or backgrounds – but did you know that douching should be something that’s done only on the recommendation of a doctor? Douching can be bad for the vagina because it may upset the delicate pH balance of the vagina.
As I mentioned, I don’t know of too many of my girls who use scented products so for those who do or have used them, for what reason do you prefer scented products? I know some products don’t come with a choice, for instance, Stayfree pads used to have both scented and unscented versions – but not anymore as the all come slightly scented. I can understand if you’ve used a certain product for so long where you don’t feel persuaded to change products, but for those who are using a product such as Playtex tampons where they do have scented and unscented products – why would you opt to use the scented, especially knowing that it truly is unnecessary (or unless you have reasons to deem it necessary)? This is not meant to entice an argument or to say that those who uses scented products as “wrong” – but rather, let us discuss the pros and cons and weigh them as to whether using scented products is a sound idea.
For the women who use liners on a daily basis to stay fresh, then perhaps I can under that manufactures want to add scent to it to encourage the idea that a good smell is the way you stay fresh. You can’t stay fresh just by relying on a scented pantiliner, but also with proper hygiene and changing of underwear on a regular or daily basis. I understand that some women get discharge regularly or have to deal with overactive vaginal lubrication, which sometimes doesn’t have the most pleasent smell or causes that “damp” feeling against your vagina, but yet, isn’t that the point of underwear? Underwear was meant to provide us with a buffer between our bodily fluids and the rest of the world. I looked up the “purpose of underwear” and one important point that came up is that underwear is to “support and protect your genital“. With that said, a bit of gunk on your underwear isn’t going to cause major issues unless you have a very heavy discharge or soaking issue, then, I can see the necessity of wearing a pantiliner regularly.
The vagina, just like any part of our body requires “breathing space” and using a pantiliner every day prevents that. Pantiliners, as part of a pre-menstrual and post-menstrual application is reasonable, but every day is almost excessive. Beyond the consideration of having your vagina stuffed up by products, also consider wearing underwear that’s more air permeable. Wearing breathable articles of clothing may make you think that just exposes your “smell” more, but by improving the OVERALL HEALTH of your pubic area, you are helping it, not hindering it.
Remember the reasons why you chose scented products in the first place, review it and see if it still really makes sense to stick with them! If you want to smell good, consider all your other healthier options.
Menstruating and swimming tends to be one of those inquisitive topics that I get from some of my male readers. I suppose given that many men are oblivious to the differences of a “pad” and a “tampon” – it would not be a surprize to have them ponder how exactly does a woman on her period, swim (or maybe I should say, swim without menstruating everywhere)? Indeed, when it comes to a girl’s period and swimming, almost one exclusive thing comes to mind – a tampon. Nevertheless, there are other options and maybe this will give both boys and girls, a different way to look at water-activities during a period.
I think it goes without saying, that using a pad while fully submersed underwater isn’t going to be a very reliable form of protection. That’s not to say it will be “useless” – but it won’t work the way it was intended to work. Because a pad is like a sponge, it will absorb any liquid, including the water – whether it be in a pool or open-waters. If you’re planning to have your lower-body fully submerged in water at any time during your water activities, I would highly suggest an internal form of protection, such as a menstrual sponge, cup or tampon.
Now of course, if your water activities do not involve lower-body submersion, it’s quite possible to use a pad for your menstrual protection needs. For those who wear a swimsuit, you can optionally wear underwear or an underwear-like article underneath your suit (i.e underneath your bikini bottoms or swim-shorts) to secure your pad onto and of course, you’d want to choose a colour which wouldn’t show through your outer-material. There’s nothing wrong with this per se, but some might consider it a bit of fashion faux pas. Because a swimsuit tends to be a closer fit to the body, you may want to use thin pads to avoid any bulging unless that is not a concern for you. Depending on how revealing your crotch-area is on your particular swimsuit, it may also be good to avoid winged pads. My own personal thought before talking to a few of my friends is that when I think of “beach” and “period” – it automatically makes me assume a tampon is involved. However, in places like Japan or even most Asian territories – because tampons aren’t the ‘common’ method of menstrual protection – many girls learn to make do with pads and modifying their water activities. It is quite common for a girl to wear a pad under a swimsuit and just make sure she wades thigh-deep into water at most, to prevent the pad from properly absorbing her menstrual flow rather than water. The more common alternative then, would just be to skip the swimsuit, stay in some shorts and wear your pads as per normal.
I know there’s a lot of talk about whether your period “stops” or not in the water. While I understand the concept of water pressure in play here, your period does not stop in the water and just to make my point firmer, your period (a biological function) doesn’t “cease” just because you are in water. Do you stop feeling the need to go pee or poop on a full bladder when you’re in the water? No – so neither does your period. Some people who think their period stops might either have a light enough period where the blood might not necessarily show or that there’s enough water/polluted colour not to notice (such as in open-waters). A girl with a heavy-flow and not using proper protection will likely not last long in a swimming pool before someone begins to notice. Mind you, you could always “free bleed” in open-waters and people may not notice, but it really has to do with your own conscience and whether you feel it’s hygienically correct for your menstrual flow to be floating around in water that everyone else is enjoying themselves in. If you’re in your own pool, then hell, do whatever you feel like. I should make mention that conventional pad materials aren’t very friendly with drainage systems, so using a pad in the water and allowing it to “fall apart” might cause issues in common pool drain/water systems.
I know that when it comes to swimming (full-body submersion) that it really is a pain-point for girls who don’t use internal protection. One of my girls was an avid swimmer and was pursuing her lifeguard certificate. However, in her mid-teenage years, she reached menarche and at the time she didn’t use tampons, she gave up much of her training and potential career/certification due to her period being an impediment in her being able to attend courses and required training. Pads are still a very large part of Asia and Asian culture, so it’s not unusual for an Asian girl to decline water activities when she’s on her period or will only do some knee-deep wading and water-splashing. Even if they don’t want to use tampons (fully in their rights), I give them extra kudos for being a good sport and still attending beach/water-related outings. Many girls have also found interesting way of using pads and actually submerging their lower body in the water, so you can always try. However, there are always potentially embarrassing consequences when your pad gives out and everything that was “locked” comes leaking out or when your pad fully soaks up water instead of your flow and your period & clots just leave a trail on the water surface.
On an anecdotal note, I have swam with a friend who’s period started unexpectedly while she was racing me and I can verify the whole concept of whether the water pressure is enough to keep the flow in the vagina – it doesn’t. Your period was meant to be expelled from the vagina and while underwater, gravity still exists. I know it can be quite hard for a girl who really wants to attend submersion water activities and having her period, this is just one of those instances where I have to say, “suck it up buttercup” because there’s not many options when it comes to dealing with an active flow while under water without some kind of surgical assistance or internal menstrual protection. Anyone who’s read this blog for a while will know I’m not a big fan of tampons, but sure enough, tampons were invented for a reason and one of them, being a great form of menstrual protection for water-sports! If you’re lucky enough to own your own pool facilities, I suppose you could freely bleed in it – although I’m not sure if it’d be that easy to be swimming with others with that happening.
So to shorten the entire post down, how to deal with swimming and your period?
- Use an internal form of protection (tampons, sea sponges, cups, etc.)
- Don’t swim
- Swim without protection (not recommend for public areas)
In closing, I’d like to add that swimming is a great activity to carry out while on your period if you can do it. Exercise is essential to maintaining good health, but also has great effects on alleviating period-related pains such as cramps or discomfort. If you’re not under so much pain that you’re ready to keel over, then some moderate exercise during your period will get your mind away from the pain, help you get your body in shape and not coop yourself up in the house!
When I saw this video posted up by Bubzbeauty on my Facebook, I almost fell off my chair. Never did I think that such a public and world-wide figure would ever post something like this: a topic of much taboo and ‘shame’ – particularly in Asian culture. The most I could do was write a heartfelt comment on the Youtube video about how great it is to see someone who, under the eyes of so many, would “dare” speak about periods and menstruation so openly. I’ve always loved Bubbi because of how genuine she is, but seeing something like this makes me feel that she’s a hero to many, including myself!
Having been almost a year and a half since I started this blog, I’ve received lots of comments both on-site and as well as through IM and email. People often ask, how is it that I can be so open about a topic that is not native to my biological gender? Easy, it is an interest! With that said, the topic itself should not be embarrassing or shameful to tackle, as menstruation and is wonderful and mystical element of the female body. Women may not bond over the fact they share breasts, a vagina or long hair – but, many sisterhoods are formed over a common ground, their periods and naturally bleeding body. Suffice to say, one of my god-sis’ best friend was actually formed inside the women’s bathroom in high school. How could that happen? Simple, she lent one of her tampons to someone she didn’t know who was begging for one. After 7 years, they still remain close friends, despite facing the trials of life, finishing post-secondary, getting a job and working on starting their “adult” life – all through the small act of lending out a tampon. While this may be a rare circumstance to have such a friendship formed, it is but a simple example of the bond formed through an act of kindness over the pains and unfortunate appearance of menstrual flow.
Regularly speaking to my female friends and some male community members over the fascination of menstruation, I have come to realize that particularly for guys, opening up to fellow friends or a female partner is a daunting situation. Particularly in the case of a female partner, whether a girlfriend or wife, I think it’s necessary that two people are able to speak keenly about their own interests, both personality-wise and sexually. After all, if two people are in it for the long-run, why should they not know everything about their other half? Being able to share things openly with each other is an essential part of a functional relationship. Every girl I’ve been with in a romantic relationship knows about my menstrual interests, because I think it should be fair I can share it with them and fair that they need to be aware of it. There needs to be acceptance both ways, the fact that I fee lcomfortable enough to share such intimate details with them and also that they can accept my interest. Accepting in my mind, does not necessarily mean participating in my interest, but simply allowing me to “do my own thing” so to speak. Also, because this interest, generally speaking, is not something of destructive nature I believe wholeheartedly that it should not be something to cause alarm. For instance, if I were to start using illegal drugs, it would definitely be in any girlfriend or wife’s place to say STOP IT, but she should have no right to TELL me to stop. Suffice to say, if bebe asked me today to give up my interest in menstruation, I probably could because of my love and devotion to her that I would be willing to make such a sacrifice. With that said, it doesn’t mean any male or female should have the right to demand that the other person suppress their right to have a menstrual interest, despite whether they want to “take part” in it.
How did I approach the girl’s I’ve been with about my menstrual interests? Well, I would not be able to answer that in any concrete way, because just like any individual, each girl had a differently personality type, predisposed openness to menstruation and comfort level with their own body. I definitely found the girls who had the most comfort with their own body and open-minded personality that they adapted easily to my interest, including ones who even LOVED my passion with menstruation. Each girl is different so I can say for sure that the way I introduced my interests to Girl #1 is definitely differently compared to Girl #2. As I’ve mentioned before, I never had any girls in my life (who I shared a romantic relationship with that is) who did not at bare minimum accept my love for menstruation. Even bebe with her semi-frigidness seems willing to accept my interest in it and try to share herself with me when it came to such discussions. While she is far from being as enthusiastic as my ex over it, her efforts to do so make it extra heartwarming. Sharing such an interest comes with great danger, because it may very well make or break a relationship – or even – friendship. Remember that even in such an “advanced” and “modern” society, many people still ‘have a problem’ when it comes to the subject of menstruation.
Yes, I agree that menstruation, especially one’s OWN menstrual cycle is a personal detail, many people take it beyond the fact that it’s just “personal” – but the fact they themselves resent it or feel disgusted by it. I have no problem with a girl feeling exposed or that she rather keep her menstrual details to herself, but those who feel that their menstrual cycle is shameful is where the ‘problem’ occurs. Just like our sex-lives, some like to share, some do not, but one should not shelter information about periods for the wrong reasons. With each of the girls I’ve had a relationship with, I took many different approaches and anecdotes, with some I could literally blurt out, “Oh by the way, I love periods” and other ones, where I had to play little games of injecting hints over a period (heh) of time.
One thing is for sure, before any one considers telling their partner or someone about their own interests in menstruation, you really have to “feel out” the other person. What kind of person are they, do they seem receptive of such information? What do you have to gain from them knowing, but also, what costs are involved should it fail? The best way is usually to try to engage them in “period talk” of sorts by somehow directing a conversation towards that subject. If the person veers the conversation away, it may mean they’re very sensitive towards that topic, in that case, I would be very cautious about expressing open interest. Likewise, if they engage in that subject and also seem passionate about it, you may have a green light. These are NOT set-in-stone rules, because while a girl might be open about menstruation or even her own menstrual information, she may not always be accepting of you being interested in menstruation. I remember one conversation with a girl I had who would participate strongly in any conversation about menstruation, including divulging many of her own experiences and intimate details of her, but when I ‘tested the waters’ on how she would react to know that a male was interested in periods, she furrowed her eyebrows. Therefore, one must be cautious about indications of openness to menstruation, in alignment with the whether it shows true openness (to all genders) or whether the openness is present under the consideration that it is a “female-only topic”.
While I would love to share my interest of menstruation, there are some girls who are simply object to men knowing anything about periods, let alone be interested in them. It’s up to you to decide whether it is worthwhile to consider pursuing the chance to open the topic or whether it is best to never touch upon it again. Furthermore, you have to ask yourself, if this is a woman who you are interested in, would you be able to go the rest of your life without expressing your interests or perhaps, even suppressing them? Of course I am not saying just because the girl doesn’t share the same love or acceptance to menstruation doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be with her, but you just have to consider the long-term impact and your own willpower. After all, there are several members even of Kayo’s community who has admitted that for years they have sheltered their own fetish and interest in menstruation in fears of that it would affect their romantic partners. Opening up to your partner about your love for menstruation is hard, particularly if every aspect of the relationship is “right” that you don’t want to risk the loss of such relationship over your own passion.
While I do not restrict the knowledge of my love of menstruation to girls I date, I definitely keep it close-knowledge because girls that I’ve known for a long-time and built a solid relationship with, or girls like my god-sis’. Also, with each girl, you can get an idea of their comfort level to the degree of which they are willing to share about menstruation, whether in general or about their own bodies. I suppose I’ve achieved comfort in a lot of these girls because they share the most intimate details about their periods with me and sometimes when we’re out, they won’t even say something like, “I need to use the washroom” – they’ll be like, “Hey, I gotta go change my pad!” and that’s just totally cool with me 😛 I have to say though, when it comes to girls I’ve dated or am dating, I also “restrict” the amount of information I share with them based on what I perceive to be their comfort level. Even with bebe, as much as I love her and want to be with her for the rest of my life, there are still some reservations that I make when it comes to my interest in periods with her. Timing and comfort-over-time is a very large factor when it comes to how little/how much you reveal and with proper timing.
Writing this entry, I’m hardly saying I’ve “perfected the art of revealing my menstrual interests” – but with a handful of relationships and 2 serious ones under the belt, I can say I’ve had at least ‘experience’ with displaying my interests of menstrual within the scope of a relationship. Having girls who appreciate my passion in menstruation is a really wonderful feeling and for the guys who share similarities like this with me, I can definitely tell you it is a liberating feeling being able to tell trusted friends and the special person in your life about your own passion. While such interests differs from hobbies like playing basketball, interest in menstruation can still be a respectful interest and with much to learn about. Remember that loving menstruation isn’t just about benefiting yourself, but also about the benefit of others. With knowledge about menstruation, one can better themselves by knowing that when a girl is angry, it isn’t a matter of her (not always at least) PMS’ing or that she’s “on the rag” and knowing the realities and separating the myths of what menstruation is about. It’s about using your love and education in menstruation, that you may be able to help girl-friends, girlfriend and/or wife to cope with her changing needs over the years. With your love of menstruation, you should help your fellow females feel comfortable with menstruation in generality and personally. It is your love of menstruation that in the most painful times of need, that you are there to support your friends and lover and to help them overcome obstacles in their periods and throughout the rest of their lives.
Remember that knowledge of menstruation comes with great responsibilities in knowing that what other women may confide in you when it comes to their period, they may not want to share with the whole world. I am lucky to say, many of the girls who I associate with and who share many details about their own experiences and regular monthly habits, that they openly share with me and feel ok that I share it with the world at-large. Of course since I rarely define names in my posts, I still hold the information which they provide me with in highest regards and if a girl is open enough to share these details with you, that you return the favour of their secrecy. I always welcome passer-byers and regular visitors alike to share their own stories, comments or feedback with me, on the blog or by other methods of contact. I hope you enjoy reading this blog, as much as I love writing it!
A month ago, I made a post about Toxic Shock Syndrome and a site called “You ARE Loved” who promote education about TSS. They had a nice little site before, but recently, they have redesigned their entire site with a slick and intuitive layout. They also acquired a domain name so I would like to take the opportunity to provide a link to their new site:
The site is dedicated to the blog owner’s daughter, Amy Rae Elifritz, who last year passed away from TSS.
The authors and contributors of the site also put a lot of work into a TSS brochure they have made and over a twitter discussion, I was happy that they would allow me to share this great piece of work, in hopes that if even all our efforts would help save just one potential TSS death that it will be worth it. Whether it is your friend, sister, daughter or even mother, your knowledge about TSS may very well be that separation between life and death for them.
Please take time to read and pass on the brochure here:
I’ve just added You ARE Loved to my blog’s link and if you’re a blog-owner yourself, you should too!
So after receiving quite a few emails, IM’s and tweets inquiring about the lack of reviews lately, I finally decided to pony-up and do one. Suffice to say, I only blame my own laziness since I tested this product like 3 weeks ago but just never gotten around to writing something for it. It’s one of those few Always products that I’m really impressed with and the last one to truly make me go “wow” was the Always Infinity. The Always Maxi Leakguard Plus with Odor Lock has really changed the face of Always for me, particularly when it comes to their worst “feature” – the comfort level of their ‘like cotton’ top-layer, which really, feels more like plastic. Another reason why I had delayed the posting of this was to give it to two of my girls to try and lucky for me, when I acquired the pads, 2 of them were days away from getting their periods so I thought, “Hey, I might as well wait until their period comes around to test them with me!” and thus, the procrastination began. Bebe bought these pads for me, so it was extra sweet-sweet 😛
So people have often asked me what is it that I have ‘against’ Always… is it just because they’re such a big brand name and they’re so “popular” that I force myself to dislike their products? Absolutely not. I’m one of those people who like to give credit where due, so if they do make a good product, despite how much (example only) I dislike them, I would still give them the thumbs up. As I previously mentioned, my biggest “problem” with Always pads is ever since they switched to the so called “feels like cotton” top layer, which I have found to actually be more “feels like plastic” giving a very wet, uncomfortable feel. The worst is when there’s sweat involved, then it just compounds the feeling of the plastic-feeling. You don’t have to take my word for it since most people will point out, “But you’re a non-menstruating guy, how would you know?” – well, at least you can take my girls’ word for it. My ex was a huge “Always girl” even when she was with me and we were exploring with different stuff, but after a long-day out in a hot summer’s day or if we were involved in strenuous activities, whenever she changed her pad in the washroom she’d always complain about how terrible the sweat on the pad felt because it caused a “rough sliding” feeling due to the plastic-feeling of the top layer of the traditional series of the Always pads. Whenever she tossed me her wrapped pad to throw in the garbage, the days where her sweat started to collect in the pad was noticeable and rather gross, so I can only imagine how the feeling of a sweaty-period-soaked pad felt on her. In the Leakguard w/ Odor Lock series of the Always pads, they really stepped up their game by changing the top-cover to truly be comfortable, with a dry weave that REALLY feels like cotton, is smooth and flexible to conform to the contours of the body.
It would appear that none of the Leakguard w/ Odor Lock pads come with wings and why not, I have no idea. However, despite not having wings, they still fit well and hold well to undergarment. I’m sure for the women who are devoted to using winged-pads only, this might be a worrying test for them. When it comes to getting the pad out of the package, it is just like any typical Always pad. The pad unfolds into 3 sections and you simply remove the pad from the adhesive. The wrapper has a white resealing tape that allows you to wrap/roll up the old pad, secure it and dispose of it. Because the pad itself does have a light scent it even passes it to the wrapper and helps mask the used and disposed product. This is very useful for the women who often will “pool up” numerous used pads before taking out the garbage, because it helps control the amount of dried menstrual fluid that it begins to affect air quality. This was a very noticeable thing because when I went over to one of my girl’s house who was testing this product for me, her trash full of these (and different) pads didn’t give off the usual menstrual smell. Since she’s living with 2 other female friends who appears to also be having their period, the scenting from the disposed wrappers really helped to kill odour which emits from wrapped, saturated pads.
Another weird thing is that this line of product doesn’t have a lot of variety, they only come in two sizes/absorbency: Regular and Super, limiting the flexibility of the product since it cannot tailor to the various changes while menstruating or that is, unless you simply over-use or under-use the product. Supposedly, the pad is supposed to be able to deal with slight urine-loss, not that most pads can’t do that if it’s only a minor amount, but there’s one thing that’s particularly important when it comes to incontinence problems. Because urine is actually a lot smellier than menstrual flow, it’s an absolutely necessity for any form of odour control to be present in incontinence or partial-incontinence products. Since these pads had both period and incontinence handling in mind, the odour locking methods were rightfully used to design the product. Mind you, a pad like this does not replace pads like Poise or Tena, since those were truly designed for a higher degree of non-menstrual fluid absorbency and the Always Maxi would only be suitable for those who have leakage as a result of a sneeze, cough or a small tinkle, but will not be capable of absorbing a bladder-full of urine – leave that up to the REAL incontinence products.
As you can see, these pad wrapper design has followed suit with the changes to their regular Always-line. The colour coding for the pad wrapper is the same as their regular series as well, yellow for REGULAR and green for SUPER. It has been a while since I’ve last held a REGULAR Always Maxi (original one), but I actually think the Leakguard Odor Lock series is actually lighter, probably due to the composition of the pad. Dimensionally, it FEELS smaller/shorter, but I think probably not, so maybe it’s just my own bias. The regular-sized package of these pads come in 22 units. I paid (or well, Bebe paid) $3.88 for a pack of these, working out to 17.6 cents per pad. I was talking to one of my regular readers, Andie, and it seems like Walmart only likes to stock the REGULAR absorbency and not the SUPER, because the only place I’ve been able to find the SUPER absorbency ones are at the Rexall’s and SDM’s… so what’s up with Walmart not buying the larger ones? LOL. Speaking of which, I can tell that this line of product does not really appeal to the masses, because the inventory on them were nearly untouched compared to other brands or absorbency. I realize it’s a new product and not everyone likes to dive head-first, so hopefully this review will be able to help people out. Really, the pad is far from being an incontinence product, so there should not be a fear or shame that buying these pads will automatically mean you have bladder issues.
As you can see, just by the looks of it, it appears to be a lot more comfier than the traditional Always pad. They’ve finally decided that the rough, plasticky dry weave isn’t good enough for a “new product” and decided to use some REAL material that helps make the wearer feel much more comfortable and secure. Like the typical Always pad, they have the famous blue lock-in core. What’s very noticeable the first time you get a hold of the package or open the first pad is the scent. The scent is not strong like the Stayfree pads, but is still quite pungent. It takes a bit of getting used to and while it is “light” in terms of the strength of the scent, it is one of those unmistakable smells. The smell luckily does not stick around as long as the Stayfree pads, but it is noticeable when the pad is worn, especially if the girl is wearing something that allows air to travel between her legs, like shorts or a skirt. I don’t want to get people all riled up over it not being discrete or obvious, since a smell like this would only ever be detectable by someone who even knows what the scent is, such as a fellow female or menstrual enthusiast. The scent is really useful however as I stated before, both during period-use and as well as for post-usage when it is disposed. The pad is 8 inches (~20 cm) long and is a uniform 3 inches wide (~7.6 cm), except at the front & rear of the pad.
The scent is very interesting, because it does more than give off a light smell or to cover-up odour, but also acts as a very cool and smooth feeling against the body. The feeling of this pad when used is similar to that of the Stayfree Thermocontrol pads, where it leaves a cool and comfortable feel on the skin. The pad cover, when saturated, begins to lock in odour, absorb quickly and emits a cool-like feeling. The smell of the scent is hard to describe, I would actually say that the smell is similar to herbs and gives a very soothing type of aroma. The absorbency of the pad is not as quick as the Always Infinity line, but is faster than the standard Always line. The pad itself is lightweight, again, lighter than the standard Always, but not as weightless as the Infinity.
The disposal of the used pad is also nice because of the soft cover, unlike the standard Always line it isn’t as hard and tough to roll or fold up. When doing a test and twisting the pad, the flow managed to stay well-locked in the pad and did not flow back to the surface. With the suggestion of Andie, I disassembled the pad and could not find any obvious traces of absorbing gel and appeared to be made completely of cotton and cellulose-type material. The top cover continued to stay intact even during disassembling and it was very obviously that the “contents” of the pad were locked underneath and not sitting on the top layer, therefore, creating a very comfortable feel when the pad is saturated. The only problem with this design is that because it absorbs so well, it’s hard to tell when the pad has absorbed enough to be changed since it stays light and distributes flow underneath well where it isn’t apparent that it’s already “on the fringe” of leaking. One of my girls who tested this for me did mention that she came to a near-leak incident because the pad didn’t appear or feel like it was ready to overflow because the center of the pad did not look saturated, nor did the pad feel weighty that would make you think it has collected quite a bit. I suppose this pad may take some getting-used-to to avoid the possibility of not being able to gauge when it is necessary to change.
I would definitely recommend this pad to others and has given me renewed confidence in Always. It’s nice to know that they’re trying to get ahead-of-the-game and also moving away from their so-called “like cotton” dry weave and moving to one which feels comfortable, regardless of the weather. After all, pads are terrible when it’s gross outside and you’re sweating, mixed with menstrual flow smell and if incontinent, even urine – so to have a pad that can stand up to that really is impressive. Although the price is steeper than the usual line of pads or other brands, for $3.88 everyday low price at Walmart, I can’t complain. While at first glance this pad might not seem like a good idea to switch because of the price point, remember that comfort, security and absorbency brings a very important feeling to a menstruating individual. If Always continues to modify their pads with comfort in-mind, I’d be a lot happier to start supporting more of their products and perhaps they can win their business back from me and my girls!
So my entry title is what I’ve heard from many of my girl’s who have taken my advice to switching or trying non-applicator tampons. Namely in Canada, I believe O.B. is the only “mainstream” brand that has tampons without applicators, although there are “side brands” – particularly organic manufacturers – who make non-applicator tampons. I’m sure people wonder where they get such an unusual name for a tampon manufacturer, but the letters O.B. is an acronym, “Ohne Binde“ German for, “without a pad” (or rough equivalent), so now that it makes sense, it’s a very fitting name. Of course being the menstrual enthusiast that I am, I am actually quite ashamed to say I took little note of this tampon brand until it was introduced to me by one of my ex’s – name withholding obviously.
A tampon is a tampon, however, just the minor difference (well, minor in my mind) between inserting a tampon WITH an applicator and WITHOUT an applicator has struck fear into even some of my elite-tampon using girls. I remember when even introducing O.B. to my god-sis, she blinked at me blankly when I told her that you just “use your fingers to push it up” – rather than pushing the bottom of the tube to feed the tampon up the vagina. She did try using them, but unfortunately, they were confiscated (yes seriously, by her mom) and she still said she preferred using an applicator because it removes the “ickiness” of possible contact of her fingers with her vagina or menstrual fluid. Honestly though, I would assume that following general hygiene that one would wash their hands before and after handling any feminine hygiene products (or obviously even after just going to pee/poop), so the idea that one may come in contact with their own vagina or menstrual flow makes my mind spin a little. In fact, good insertion techniques with a non-applicator tampon is probably more “clean” than having to withdraw a blood-smeared applicator and risk any strands of menstrual flow or clots from falling out during the applicator withdrawal.
It’s probably quite obvious that the environmental footprint for an applicator and non-applicator tampon is very different. Non-applicator tampons are generally sold in smaller boxes (physical size) and individually wrapped only using a film-type wrapper. Applicator tampons are usually individually wrapped with a plastic wrapper and also the cardboard or plastic applicator itself generates additional waste. While cardboard is indeed recyclable, you have to wonder, how many people really separate their tampon applicators from regular waste? I can say that out of all my girls or women I have ever talked to, they just ditch their cardboard applicators along with the regular garbage. Since the sizing for applicator tampons is larger (even the compact ones sold by other brands), the boxes they come in are also larger as well.
In my opinion, O.B. tampons are SUPER CUTE. Well, not that it matters from a usage perspective, but making a cool-looking tampon can have its appeals. Or wait… maybe it only appeals to us menstrual lovers, LOL! Also, don’t forget that an applicator can sometimes cause injuries. Because many tampons have flanged ends for the applicator tip, it can catch on skin causing some major owies. Also particular to women who are just learning to use tampons, stabbing themselves with the applicator DOES happen. With an O.B. tampon, because you are more attuned by a fine-motor skill (your fingers), you have full control of the direction and movement while inserting the tampon. Don’t forget that assuming you are practicing general hygiene, using your fingers to insert the tampon is a clean alternative to introducing a foreign object such as cardboard or plastic into the most intimate area of your body. Although I’ve had debates with women on whether it’s “faster” to insert using an applicator or without one, I for one must say that it’s a lot easier to insert a non-applicator tampon since it requires less “unpakaging”, “preparation” and “fiddle-time”.
For those who may be interested in switching or exploring the use of a non-applicator tampon (or if you’d just like to educate yourself), here’s one of those O.B. pamphlets that are included in every box of their tampons:
You can click the image for a better resolution pictures and to see the text better!